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Summer Scoops at Osborne Materials/VisitingNewEngland small business partnership - Local Small Business Stories

Osborne Materials Paves the Way for Summer Scoops Ice Cream in Plainville, Mass.

A joyous visit to the only combination ice cream stand, nursery and landscape material yard in Massachusetts

Summer Scoops Ice Cream stand at Osborne Materials in Plainville, Mass.
Outdoor home improvements meet ice cream at Summer Scoops at Osborne Materials. Photo credit: Osborne Materials.

Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Article created on 5/15/2019.

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Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass., looks unlike any other ice cream stand.

Part of that unique experience happens just before arriving. The prospects initially look dim for an ice cream stand anywhere in sight. One yellow sign after another reveals a business on the horizon that sells landscaping and hardscape items.
One has to wonder if the online maps app got the location wrong. All of a sudden, however, a brightly colored ferris wheel and a cheerful, sunny yellow-painted building with a glimpse of what looks like ordering windows confirms there just might be an ice cream stand on the horizon.

The most unlikely place for an ice cream stand...
Approaching Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery.

Soon, a classic ice cream stand is fully realized with crowds of families everywhere lining up to order some frozen treats...

Summer Scoops Ice Cream Stand in Plainville, mass.
Summer Scoops ice cream stand. Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.

Within that classic ice cream stand template, Summer Scoops ultimately takes the pavement less traveled veering far away from typical ice cream stand characteristics. For starters, the immaculately designed pavers replace the more common dirt and worn concrete under our feet.

Great spaces to enjoy ice cream at Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.
A beautiful, customer-friendly layout at Summer Scoops.

The surroundings often look more like a park than a plain old vanilla ice cream spot. There's the ornamental ferris wheel, non-motorized wood train for the kids to climb onto, a wooden tractor with slide in the back, a giant checker set, the Summer Scoops famous gigantic Adirondack chair painted the colors of summer, a bright red Volkswagen Beetle with the Summer Scoops logo, a tall tree with star on top, and a
wrought iron mini re-creation of the Eiffel Tower. Seating is not just relegated to the tailgate of an SUV or picnic tables (the latter of which Summer Scoops has plenty) as chairs, swings, gazebos, hardscape displays of granite tables and paver walls provide plenty of options to relax and enjoy the ice cream.

A most welcoming place to eat ice cream at Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.
Unilock pavement, swingset and wooden train at Summer Scoops.

In a nutshell, it's an ideal family ice cream destination. But it's also a destination that goes beyond ice cream in a way that you will not see in Massachusetts and possibly all of New England.

What really makes Summer Scoops different is that it's part of the Osborne Materials building, the largest hardscape display in New England offering a wide variety of supplies to contractors and homeowners. Truly a small business success story,
Osborne Materials was born out of owner Eric Osborne's deep love for working outside. His first two childhood jobs were working at a local church and town park by maintaining the landscape and grounds. From 1986 to 2012, Osborne ran his business in very modest conditions before having the beautiful building constructed  as a centerpiece to his 24-acre operation.

Eric Osborne, of Osborne Nursery in Plainville, Mass., ran his landscape and materials business out of a trailer before a new building was constructed in 2012.

Oversized chair in front of Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.

“I enjoyed working outside with a variety of tasks," said Eric, of his humble beginnings. "I was given a lawn mower and started working for myself. I worked out of a trailer for the first 20 years of business. I built up enough equity to afford a nice building and to add Summer Scoops.”

Osborne provides contractors and homeowners with high quality wall systems, paving materials, natural stone products for indoor and outdoor design, mulch (including organic leaf mulch), loam, stone and sand. They also sell firepits, mailboxes and lanterns, firewood, pellets, tools, fertilizer and seed and artificial grass. The list goes on.

Osborne Materials in Plainville, Mass.
Osborne Materials shares the same building as Summer Scoops. Photo credit: Osborne Materials.

Eric's father, Bernard, has worked at Osborne for many years and is known to all employees as Papa. The grandkids share some very special memories with him.

Family memories at Osborne Materials in Plainville, MA.
Grandpa and granddaughter Hailey in 2003. Photo, courtesy of Coralee Osborne.

When mom or dad has the idea of going out for an ice cream, different cravings also occur when arriving to see all the resources to beautify the yard.

"Customers coming for ice cream will ask at the ice cream windows where they can find more information on the displays," said Coralee Osborne, daughter of Eric and manager of Summer Scoops. "There are product catalogues displayed throughout the yard for customers to look at after Osborne Materials store hours."

Coralee said that her dad always wanted to own an ice cream place. She and her sisters, Hailey and Ashley, thought he was kidding, but it turns out he was serious.

"It was my dad's decision to open Summer Scoops," said Coralee. "He always wanted an ice cream shop, even when my sisters and I were little girls."

New building at Osborne Nursery and Summer Scoops Ice Cream in Plainville, Mass.
The Osborne family: Eric, Coralee, Hailey, Ashley and Eric's wife Tracie at the 2012 grand opening. Photo, courtesy of Coralee Osborne.

Since opening in 2012, Summer Scoops has become a local seasonal favorite (summer and parts of spring and fall) bringing in crowds throughout the day and into the hot summer nights where ice cream lovers tend to most frequently unite.

“They complement each other," said Eric about Summer Scoops and Osborne Materials. "Both businesses people shop at because they enjoy to -- not because they have to.”

Coralee is all on board with Summer Scoops just as much as enthusiastic kids on the wooden train. In seven years, she has seen Summer Scoops become the local, happy place.

All aboard for fun at Summer Scoops ice cream stand in Plainville, MA.

"I love it," said Coralee, of Summer Scoops. "It's fun watching my staff grow from freshman in high school to sophomores in college. Moms and dads come with their kids for ice cream. They are happy to enjoy the ice cream in such nice surroundings. We have lots of regulars."

Coralee also makes sure that Summer Scoops is pet-friendly, too, given her love for dogs.

"My dad nor do I have any pictures of ourselves without Magnolia or Rosco (pet dogs)," said Coralee. "I love my dogs, that's why we are pet-friendly. It's not fair to animals to be stuck at home. Magnolia comes to work Monday through Friday and Rosco comes some days but he goes to work with my boyfriend, also. People should be able to bring their pets to enjoy an ice cream, too. We have a customer who comes all the time with a pet cat. There is enough room where if you don't like animals, everyone can be separated and respectful of each other."

Coralee Osborne and her dog Magnolia at Summer Scoops ice cream in Plainville, Mass.
Coralee and Magnolia. Photo courtesy of Coralee Osborne.

So, How's The Ice Cream?

Strawberry shortcake ice cream from Summer Scoops, Plainville, Mass.
Strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

Delicious! Summer Scoops sources its ice cream extremely well from Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar,
Bliss, and Gifford's. Crescent Ridge, in Sharon, Mass., was twice recognized by National Geographic Traveler as one of the best ice cream places in the world. Bliss, of Attleboro, Mass., is one of those local treasures that has been around since 1929 and, to this very day, focuses on creating freshly made ice cream. Gifford's is a household name in Maine, dating back to the 1800s. Even with expansion, Gifford's has kept up the quality that makes its ice cream one of the best tasting in New England.

Yummy sundae from Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.
Yummy vanilla ice cream from Summer Scoops.
Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.

Summer Scoops offers cones and cups of hard and soft serve ice cream, as well as sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cookies, shakes, frappes, root beer and other sodas, sorbet freeze, sherbet coolers, raspberry lime rickeys, floats and smoothies. Razzles are similar to Dairy Queen's Blizzards, but far better because of the richer consistency and stronger flavors. They consist of soft serve ice cream (with more than 30 flavors to choose from) with add-ons like Oreo's, Reese's Pieces, Reese's Chop Cups, Gummy Bears, Sour Gummy Worms, Butterfingers, Heathbar, walnuts, peanuts and sprinkles.

Razzle soft serve ice cream with mix-ins from Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.
Funfetti Razzle.
Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.

The crowd basically goes wild over the ice cream and the other fun factors.

"We love coming here," said Christina Allen. "It's always great to have some ice cream and let the kids play and run around."

Family  enjoying the park-like grounds at Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.
The Allen family enjoying Summer Scoops in the spring.

Chris Kalil, Sarah Dwyer and family enjoy the trek from Franklin to Summer Scoops.

"It's always nice coming here on a summer day," said Chris. "You have the ice cream, the park, all that mulch for sale. My favorite ice cream? Anything chocolate related!"

Some of the most popular flavors, according to Coralee: Cotton Candy, Coffee Oreo, Strawberry Cheesecake, Fly Fishing Fudge, and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt,.

They also sell Kayem all beef hot dogs. Coralee said the hot dogs sell well, but she has suspicions of why they are on the menu.

"My dad likes hot dogs," laughed Coralee. "It gives him something to eat when my mom doesn't make his lunch."

All beef hot dogs from Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery in Plainville, Mass.
Hot dogs from Summer Scoops.
Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.

How Summer Scoops Further Connects with the Community

Ice cream is a sure fire way to make meaningful connections in a small town like Plainville. Summer Scoops, however, goes way beyond sweets, however, to foster close-knit relations with Plainville and surrounding communities. In the summer, they celebrate Christmas in July with a Toys for Tots Campaign. Santa is on hand, of course, no matter how warm he gets in that suit!

Santa visits Summer Scoops Ice Cream Stand in Plainville during the summer for a Toys for Tos campaign.
Toys for Tots campaign at Summer Scoops. Photo credit: Facebook fan page.

Pumpkin painting takes place in September with customers trying their artistic hands at creating the most personable pumpkin...

Pumpkin painting takes place at Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass., during September.
2018 Summer Scoops staff pumpkins. Photo credit: Facebook fan page.

"Growing up as kids in elementary school, our dad would bring in sugar pumpkins for our class and we'd paint pumpkins in school," said Coralee. "So when we opened Summer Scoops, I wanted to bring that childhood memory to all the kids (it's all ages -- college kids and parents come up to paint, too.), so I started to have Pumpkin Painting at Summer Scoops and its a HUGE hit. It's a destination and a place where it's okay to get paint all over the table and floor. It's something everyone looks forward to at the end of the summer! "

It is embedded in the Osborne's DNA to help others in the area.

“We always support our local community and the surrounding towns," said Eric. "Whether it’s donated trees, mulch and other landscape materials, helping out the Boy Scouts with projects, discounts to the senior center and our local schools or supporting surrounding towns youth sport teams."


Aerial photo of Osborne Nursery and Summer Scoops in Plainville, Mass.
Aerial photo of Osborne Nursery. Photo credit: Matt Reardon..

Osborne Materials and Summer Scoops epitomize how the American Dream can come true for those who possess strong work ethic, honesty and trustworthiness. You can hear the love for small town ways, the importance of family and the love for neighbors -- including pets -- in virtually every word that Coralee speaks straight from the heart.

The Osborne family, well -known in Plainville MA for Osborne Nursery and Summer Scoops ice cream.
A more recent photo of the Osborne family. Photo, courtesy of Coralee Osborne.

The Osbornes clearly love helping people through Osborne Materials and seeing customers create instant memories while enjoying ice cream at Summer Scoops. The Osborne family has created its own memories along the way that can be embraced forever and never taken away.

Enjoying the ferris wheel(no longer functioning) many years ago at Osborne Nursery in Plainville, MA.
When the ferris wheel was operational back in 2000. Pictured: Ashley and Hailey. Photo, courtesy of Coralee Osborne.

Customers sense the love, togetherness and devotion when at Osborne's and Summer Scoops and naturally become magnetized to the positive nature of the business and its people working there. By adding ice cream, the community, no doubt, comes even closer together. Ice cream and America have a wonderful relationship.

Enjoying ice cream at Summer Scoops in Plainvillle, Mass.
Enjoying ice cream on a summer day.. Photo credit: Summer Scoops Facebook fan page.

The beautiful feeling of a carefree summer ultimately takes center stage at Osborne Materials and Summer Scoops indeed paving the way for a fabulous place for ice cream and maybe a thought or two or three about improving one's own property for more memories to be made back home.

"I feel our business is special," said Coralee. "People just love being here and are always happy when they come for ice cream."

Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery is located at 80 Washington, St., Route 1, in Plainville, MA. Tel. 508-695-8272.

Log onto the Summer Scoops web site, Facebook Fan Page and Instagram Page for more information.

For Osborne Nursery, log onto its web site, Instagram page and Pinterest Pin Boards Page for more information.

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Summer Scoops at Osborne Nursery in Plainville, Mass.: A joyous visit to the only combination ice cream stand, nursery and landscape material yard in Massachusetts.

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